Annual KDSHA Art Event at Villa Chamoun: A Celebration of Art and Heritage

The Kadisha Valley, a UNESCO-protected heritage site rich in history, serves as the backdrop for KDSHA, an annual event that aims to spark art narratives around contemporary themes within the authentic setting of Villa Chamoun, a guest house in Hasroun, in north Lebanon.

This annual summer event (Including a pool installation and an exhibition) resonates deeply with the legacy of Gibran Khalil Gibran and features both international and Lebanese artists whose works explore meaningful and contemporary themes.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Samar Mogharbel, Hady Sy, Rania Tabbara, Ghassan Zard, Daniel Rey and Rony Zibara.

Rony Zibara, the owner of Villa Chamoun and initiator of KDSHA Art Narratives declared: “KDSHA is dedicated to fostering discussions about the role of contemporary art in today’s complex world, set against the serene and inspiring landscapes of Lebanon’s north”.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Alchemical Splash, pool installation at Villa Chamoun, created by Daniel Rey.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Rey’s work transforms the pool into an enigmatic underwater dreamscape.

A key highlight of KDSHA is the annual unveiling of the Villa Chamoun pool installation, recognized as one of the largest canvases in the world. This year’s 3rd edition installation, Alchemical Splash, is created by London-based Venezuelan artist Daniel Rey who has been selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries (2023) and received the LVHM Maison/0 The Earth Award (2023). Rey’s large-scale drawing transforms the pool into an enigmatic underwater dreamscape, inviting viewers to ponder themes of escapism and our complex relationship with the built environment. For Rey, the pool goes beyond its usual function as a place for recreation or sports; it transforms into a sanctuary, a portal providing an escape from the chaotic and uncertain times we face above the surface.
This year’s KDSHA exhibition, titled MASHAWIR (Journeys), is curated by Rania Tabbara in collaboration with Crème Fraîche, London. The artists’ works animate the Villa Chamoun gardens, enhancing the visitor experience with their creative visions. Part of the MASHAWIR exhibition are artists: Ghassan Zard, Samar Mogharbel, and Hady Sy with 17 artworks all together. Curator Rania Tabbara stated: “The narratives of the artists, diverse yet interconnected, reflect personal quests and interpretations that transcend boundaries, inspired by Gibran’s universal insights”.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Ghassan Zard with his artworks Whispers of Nature.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Whispers of Nature, a sculpture by Ghassan Zard. Courtesy of Galerie Tanit.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Wandering Turtles by Ghassan Zard, special edition 2024 Villa Chamoun. Courtesy of Galerie Tanit.

Ghassan Zard features his Wandering Turtles—three nomadic turtles among a group of 70 others, part of his mobile exhibition across Lebanon. Separating from their herd, they now find themselves in the serene Kadisha Valley, forever a site of pilgrimage, devotion, and tranquility – qualities often associated with tortoises across cultures. With their dome-shaped shells and imposing presence, they radiate a sense of serene wisdom. Khalil Gibran once praised the tortoise, extolling the wealth of knowledge acquired by embracing a slower pace of life, in contrast to the hurried pace of hares. A recurring motif in Zard’s artistic repertoire, the turtle evokes both nostalgia and a sense of the sublime in his creations.  In his Echoes of Nature, Zard explores the delicate balance between nature and intervention, occasionally introducing foreign elements into organic settings, playfully deviating from nature’s course. Imagery of mushrooms, flowers, or even ears subtly emerges in his work. Sound becomes a central theme within this seemingly lifeless forest, where trees serve as both recipients and creators of music. Through Zard’s sculpted tree trunks (Seven), once towering giants now transformed into colossal insects or ancient dinosaurs, viewers encounter relics of a bygone era. Despite their demise, these trees engage in a tangible exchange with humanity, transcending their former molecular interactions in life.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Samar Mogharbel with her artwork The Unbearable Lightness of Sculptures.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

The Unbearable Lightness of Sculptures by Samar Mogharbel. Courtesy of Saleh Barakat Gallery.

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Samar Mogharbel mingles Clay and Gravity in her three artworks, The Unbearable Lightness of Sculptures. She delves into the bond between them that embodies a dance of resistance and surrender, of shaping and being shaped. It speaks to the inherent harmony between the fundamental forces of the physical world and the artistic pursuit of crafting forms that both respect and challenge their confines.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Hady Sy and his work Minotaure.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

Mécanisme Compliqué by Hady Sy. Courtesy of Saleh Barakat Gallery.

Photo © Villa Chamoun

A work by Hady Sy. Courtesy of Saleh Barakat Gallery.

Hady Sy bridges humanity and numbers through art. With this purpose in mind, he deciphers a landscape where conflicts, global health crises, and the relentless chase for wealth frequently diminish individuals to mere data points. It’s a Numbers Game embarks on a mission to confront this dehumanization through the transformative medium of conceptual art. The four artworks showcased delve deep into the intricate interplay between humanity and numerical representations, unveiling steel sculptures that infuse numerical figures with vitality, animating them with human, animal, and botanical characteristics.

A view of Villa Chamoun.

Villa Chamoun which is nestled in the picturesque Kadisha Valley and close to the majestic Cedars of Lebanon, stands as an enchanting guesthouse retreat, steeped in the charm and tempo of the 1960s. Originally built as a family home in 1965, this historic villa has been meticulously restored to honor its storied past. This ambitious revival project brought together the talented artisans and craftspeople of Hasroun alongside renowned Lebanese designers, creating a sustainable micro economy that celebrates local skills and traditions.
The artworks are insured by Commercial Insurance.

The exhibition will be on view until October 2, 2024
Tel.: +961 3 023 305
www.villachamoun.com
@villachamoun

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